Located in the Bronx, New York, City Island is a small island, approximately one mile long and a quarter mile wide. City Island is surrounded by Eastchester Bay on one side and Long Island Sound on the other. Its bridge attaches to a roadway adjacent to Pelham Bay Park, New York City's largest park. In this area, and in the waters and wetlands, in and around City Island, many bird species thrive. Here, several and varied migratory birds are found. This website was created to help study, appreciate, and protect all the birds of this area.

City Island Birds
Since 2007

Welcome to City Island Birds. I created this website because this area of New York City is little known and underutilized by birdwatchers and other nature lovers. Pelham Bay Park, with its woods and wetlands is a critical stopover and nesting area to many migratory species.


Barnacle Goose at Orchard Beach

Jack Rothman


Traveling and Birding the Amazon

Several people have requested information about our trip to the Amazon.

Birding Interest- Past Articles

Important and Useful

The Wild Bird Fund   (Animal Rehabber)

New York Tide Chart

Urban Park Rangers

NY State Parks

Birdcast (Migration Reports)


Beginner’s Guide

Binocular and Smartphone Help

If you’re not familiar with how your computer or smartphone can help you be a better and more successful birder, you should read my little primer, link here.

If you need or want a new pair of binoculars, you might want to begin here. Binoculars have really changed in the last few years. You can get a fantastic pair for a few hundred dollars and a really good pair for less than $200. Years ago, there wasn’t nearly as much choice. You should link here for ratings.

Birding Advocacy

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A Common Goldeneye maleThe white circle under the eye is a good field mark for identification. They are also mostly white underneath. Lots can be seen off Hunter and Twin Island.

A bunch of male and female Hooded Mergansers. We located a few in the Orchard Beach lagoon on our last walk.

List of Birds at Our Puddle 2017

Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Pectoral Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Killdeer, White-rumped Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Black-headed Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull, Laughing Gull, Peregrine Falcon, Wilson’s Snipe, American Pipit, Merlin, Canada Goose.


A Horned Grebe in Eastchester Bay. This bird is getting it’s breeding plumage. The photo was taken at the end of March.


A Northern Harrier. The photo was taken in the park last February

Pelham Bay Park Winter Birding

If the weather isn’t too cold, it’s a nice walk through Hunter Island. The woods are relatively quiet until you make the turn along the shoreline. Then you’ll find some nice waterfowl: Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Greater Scaup, Horned Grebe, Common and Red-throated Loon, American Black Duck, Gadwall and more. It’s best to use a scope, and if you’re patient, you’ll probably get a Great Cormorant, Long-tailed Duck and a Surf Scoter too.

A Snowy Owl was spotted off Orchard Beach on a rock outcropping. We tried to find it the next day after reading the report, but we had no luck. If you bird the area, there is always a possibility of another this time of the year. There are Snowy Owls out at Jones Beach. It’s worth the trip if you’ve never seen one.

Our resident Great Horned Owl is around, but so far we haven’t seen any action at the nest. Saw-whet Owls and Long Eared Owls have not been been seen, but there’s still time. Every year is unique, different birds at different times. That’s why it’s fun to keep checking.

If you see anything unusual please email me: jack@cityislandbirds.com

All photos and text by Jack Rothman

All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.

Updated 2/5/18

Copyright 2018

Snow Goose on the oval at Orchard Beach in 2016.

Winter Bird Walk Results

Orchard Beach and Hunter Island

Sunday, Feb. 4  8:30 AM

American Black Duck are a threatened species. They’re pretty easily found here.

“The difference between a beginning birder and an experienced one is that beginning birders have misidentified few birds. Experienced birders have misidentified thousands.”

Pete Dunne

Link here for a terrific article “Birding is Hard”